Sunday, February 14, 2010

Do not r Read this post [!]

b/c you will probably be bored it sheds light on why gay marriage advocates believe the entire debate is about ignorance and hatred.

It's a geeky continuation of a contentious conversation with roro80, whose moniker invokes the Indonesian goddess who is Queen of the South Seas and who controls violent waves. roro80 is smarter than the inevitably ignorant and hate-filled conservatives she encounters. No one disagrees with Nyai Roro Kidul and lives to tell about it!

And Roro has some company in her thinking - including from inside the White House.



Here's how you are in a logical trap: the Pope.

Your intellectual integrity precludes your saying the Pope either is unintelligent, is uninformed about the plight of homosexuals, or harbors hatred for homosexuals. Your previous assertion, i.e. "it's always about ignorance and hatred", is therefore invalid.

You instinctively want to reach for a tried and true lifeline: you want to say the Pope obstinately, stubbornly refuses to forthrightly address data/facts. However, why would the Pope willfully act in bad faith? Your argument doubles back on itself: the Pope would only act in bad faith by reason of either being unintelligent, being uninformed, or harboring hatred. The Pope cannot simultaneously be informed and uninformed; cannot simultaneously act in good faith and in bad faith.

I hope you see this distinction between good faith and bad faith. You can
A] call a Pope decision an "ignorant" decision, thus asserting the Pope looked at data/circumstances and made a poor choice.
However, your integrity precludes your
B] saying the Pope either has a low IQ, is uninformed, or harbors hatred.

The distinction between A & B is the distinction between
A] acting in good faith
B] acting in bad faith, i.e. acting either out of low IQ, or out of some type of prejudice which is motivated either by lack of information, or by lack of empathy, by ill will, by hatred.

Here's the fallout: if one intelligent, informed person of good will (the Pope) can disagree with you, then many intelligent, informed persons of good will can disagree with you. Suddenly, it's a new day: those who disagree with you might not be ignorant haters.


I've been thinking about how you (and many others) can believe every person in the U.S. who opposes gay marriage is acting out of ignorance or hatred. I think there are maybe two key things you cannot comprehend:

1. How could anyone think gay persons do not have the right?
2. How could any loving person want to deny gay couples the satisfaction of state sanctioned union? It seems, to you, such an unloving thing to want to do.

I address these below.

As best I understand, these are your and my rules: on your favored ground - marriage, you are arguing that traditional marriage advocates are so illogical as to only possibly be motivated by either ignorance or hatred; I am arguing that traditional marriage views are logical enough that intelligent, informed persons of good will can hold the opinions.

I have the easier task. I will immediately win the day, then dig deeper into your points - in hopes that your understanding will be expanded. An immediate winning statement:

In a macro sense, in American culture/society, marriage results in more births and in more success at rearing children who become productive citizens. Therefore, the state has a legitimate interest in promoting marriage as a special status.

Done. My task is accomplished.

I don't have to prove the truth of it. I merely have to show that intelligent, informed persons of good will can believe the statement is correct. Which is self-evident. Which means conservatives can disagree with you w/o being filled with prejudicial ignorance or hatred.

But, though the argument is over, lets break it down more, in hopes you can better understand the whys of the "rights" thing and of the "deny gay people" thing.


One cannot argue that unmarried cohabitation produces as many children as married cohabitation. The statistics show differently.

Reproduction is not a trivial concern. Demography is destiny. Conservatives say societies are not murdered: they commit suicide. Low birth rate is a method of suicide.

Effective Child Rearing

The key issue is not about comparative effectiveness of child rearing of gay people vs. straight people. Instead, here is the key point: if marriage is less special, then fewer marriages will occur, then fewer couples will stay together through the child rearing process, then more children will be raised by single parents. Expanding the societal disaster of single parenting is not good for the nation.


You argue that the state cannot promote marriage at the expense of the rights of gay persons. Traditional marriage advocates reply that gay persons have the right to be married to a spouse of the opposite sex. Gay persons can even marry gay persons ... of the opposite sex. Gay persons have every right that I have. Marriage is not discrimination between gay and not gay: marriage is discrimination between marriage and not marriage. Lets dig down on this.

You argue it's impossible for gay persons to be romantically attracted to opposite sex persons, therefore gay persons do not have all the rights I have. Your argument hinges on the definition of "right": is it a constitutional right to be romantically attracted to the person you are marrying?

Whichever way one comes down on this question, it's easy to see that traditional marriage advocates have an intelligent, informed, non hate based argument: there's nothing about romance/feelings in the Constitution, and there ought be nothing about romance/feelings in either the Constitution or in the laws of the U.S.
Down that path there be dragons.

Again, according to your and my rules, as I understand them, I don't have to win an argument about the righteousness of the conversation about "rights". I merely have to show that intelligent, informed persons of good will can disagree with your opinion. Which, in the case of a Constitutional right to romantic attraction inside state sanctioned union, is self-evident.

You like to say: Slippery slope! Conservatives are constantly saying slippery slope!

Okay. However, piling scorn upon "slippery slope" does not mean some slippery slopes are not both valid and dangerous. If we encourage reduction of birth rate, rear children less effectively, and tie rights into feelings, we are on some slippery and dangerous slopes.

"Denying" gay people

Which brings us to your Question 2:
How could any loving person want to deny gay couples the satisfaction of state sanctioned union? It's such an unloving thing to want to do.

Who will suffer if American society declines? Media typically say "women and children hardest hit". However, close behind will be all the rest of us. Traditional marriage advocates argue that gay people will suffer more from societal decline than from lack of state sanctioned unions. Therefore, staving off societal decline is the more loving action.

I'm certain you hate this argument, and that's fine. However, you can hate the argument and still notice it is an intelligent, informed argument which is not grounded in hatred of gay people. Rather, the argument is grounded in desire to stave off societal suicide and decline; is grounded in desire to keep birthrates strong and to keep children being reared as effectively as possible.

You might instinctively want to say the argument is a smokescreen for hatred. However, is every single American who makes this argument using it as a smokescreen for hatred?

You like to say that you've heard all the arguments before. Maybe you haven't HEARD them. Maybe you haven't allowed it to sink in that an intelligent, informed person of good will can disagree with your opinion on gay marriage. Their disagreement can be unwise. However, their disagreement cannot simultaneously be informed and uninformed; cannot be simultaneously based in good faith and in bad faith.


And, when/if you become ready, I keep meaning to address a point from way back in our original conversation ...... about climate, "accumulation", and mass fantasy.


Webutante said...

You've done a fine job of this, Greg. Very good read.

gcotharn said...

Thank you!

Bro 64 said...

Interesting read, but it's missing context without roro80's comments. Can you excerpt some of her comments, so we can see what you are debating?

gcotharn said...

I tried to reference roro's opinions as I went along. Still, I include some excerpts of our previous conversation below. The entirety of the conversation is here: - but it's reeeaally long - it continued over days and days - and it's petty and contentious, and I completely do not recommend it, but have at it if you want. Excerpts of the previous conversation:

roro: Honestly, the line between being against someone's rights and against them themselves is so fine as to be inconsequential.


roro: Silly is thinking that the word "bigot" has more effect than using political power to deny entire classes of Americans equal protection under the law. Vicious is having the hubris to think that this is acceptable because you are better than them in some way, more worthy of the rights you take for granted.


greg: "My hope, apparently unrealized, is for you to see that persons can oppose gay marriage and gay issues w/o being bigots."

roro: This is going to be pretty much impossible, because if someone is generally committed to the idea that gay people are just as good as straight people, all the gay issues become extremely clear. If you think that gay people are just like you, and you are enjoying the benefits of marriage, you think that gay people should also have that ability. If you are able to talk about your weekend with your loved-one, or even your blind date, at work without the fear of getting fired, you think gay people should be able to do the same. There's not a whole lot of thought that even needs to go into which side of the argument you're on, if you first concede that gay people are just as important and good and worthy as you are. It may not be clear how to go about removing the discriminatory laws from the books, and it may be even less clear how to remove the discrimination from the hearts of other people, but the right thing to do is not hard to see if equality is the jumping-off point.

gcotharn said...

One more:

roro: Here, let me make it very clear for you: I do *not* think that anti-gay arguments can be made in an intelligent or unbigoted manner. If they can, you most certainly have not made those arguments.


Eventually, the blog we were on cut off comments, so I responded to a couple of roro's issues here at my blog. She knows my response is here, if she wishes to comment.